In the U.S., there are few floral spectacles so beautiful as that of the cherry blossom blooms in Washington, D.C. While they can also be seen in other parts of the country, there's something about D.C.'s scenery that has millions of people visiting from all over just to see the peak season of these stunning trees.
It's estimated that more than 1.5 million people come from all over the world just to witness peak cherry blossom season, and it's easy to see why. Besides the National Cherry Blossom Festival, D.C. is a beautiful city, in general, during springtime.
With 2022 marking the 110th anniversary of Tokyo's gift of cherry blossoms to D.C., here's what visitors should know about its peak bloom season.
When To See The Cherry Blossoms In Washington, D.C.
There are many factors that can contribute to the early, late, or average bloom time of cherry blossoms. They are somewhat delicate buds and when they bloom, their flowers are fragile and vulnerable to the elements. This means that each season looks different and not every bloom cycle will be as long (or even as short) as the last. The National Parks Service predicts the cycle of cherry blossom trees each year based on weather patterns - in this case, for D.C. - in order to determine when they'll be in peak bloom.
The best time to check the dates for cherry blossom season is during mid-to-late February, as cherry blossoms usually bloom in late March in D.C. For 2022, it's predicted that the best time to see them will be from March 22nd until March 25th, although this can always change slightly, once again, due to the weather patterns.
Those who can't make it during these specific few days can still see these beautiful trees, however. The trees do bloom in the weeks prior to and after that, and while the best viewing is at the end of March, the trees are just as spectacular before or after their peak bloom.
- Fact: The most accurate forecast when it comes to D.C.'s cherry blossoms is roughly ten days before the prediction of their peak foliage.
Visitors have up to two weeks after the dates predicted to see the cherry blossoms before they begin to fall or close up. Usually, the peak foliage of D.C.'s springtime buds lasts from four to seven days following the peak prediction.
- Tip: For those who can't make it to D.C. or schedule a last-minute trip, check out the Bloom Cam to (virtually) watch the blooms through peak season.
Where To See The Cherry Blossoms Around Washington, D.C.
Luckily, D.C. is a big place and can more than handle the millions of people who arrive annually to witness its most beautiful trees. For those visiting, knowing where to go beforehand is crucial to getting those stunning photo ops and taking in the beauty of the National Mall.
The Tidal Basin
This is the most sought-after destination during springtime in D.C. thanks to the groves of cherry blossoms that thrive on the edges of the waterway. This also means that it's likely to be the most crowded, so visitors should prepare themselves to either get there early or arrive late to avoid walking shoulder to shoulder. This is where visitors can find the Yoshino variety of cherry blossom, as opposed to the Kwanzan, which usually blooms about two weeks following the 4,000 Yoshino trees along the Tidal Basin. This is also a great spot for those who wish to visit the Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials.
U.S. National Arboretum
This arboretum is a stunning place to visit, in general. During the early spring, it gains even more attention as it's also home to some of D.C.'s beautiful cherry blossoms. The gardens are home to more than 70 different types of cherry blossoms, with gardens covering a total of 446 acres.
Dumbarton Oaks Gardens
Another public garden to visit is Dumbarton Oaks, which is home to the famed Cherry Hill. While it's much smaller and covers a distance of only 16 acres, it's home to Sargent's cherry trees and Edo higan. Both of these are absolutely stunning and share the same acreage as other springtime-blooming trees and plants, making it a wonderful destination for lovers of flora, in general.
Additional Spots Of Cherry Blossom Viewing
- Arlington National Cemetary
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
- Hains Point Loop Trail
- National Mall
No matter where one finds themselves in D.C. during early spring, they're sure to be treated to a landscape that's bursting forth with pale pink and white petals. D.C.'s cherry trees were given as a gift of peace and friendship, and continue to be just as significant to this day.